Muffins recipes

National dish of Portugal

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  • Independence: 1139
  • Capital: Lisbon
  • Official language: Portuguese
  • Population: 10 576 252
  • Area: 92 090 km2
  • International code: PT
  • Currency: Euro (€)
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  • 1 1/2 lbs salt cod fish
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs waxy potatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick and cooked until tender
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • 8 green manzanilla olives, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Bacalhau is national food (dish) of Portugal


Soak the cod in cold water to cover for 24 to 36 hours, changing the water occasionally, drain. Flake the cod into small pieces, removing any bones. Set aside. In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, add 1/4 cup of the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and the garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until slightly golden, about 6 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a medium oven proof casserole dish with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper. Spread half of the potatoes over the bottom of the prepared dish. Sprinkle half of the salt cod over the potatoes. Place half of the onion mixture over the salt cod. Top the onion mixture with more salt cod. Place another layer of potatoes over the top of the cod. Drizzle the entire pan with the remaining 1/4 cup of oil. Place in the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. Place on a serving platter. Garnish with the sliced eggs, olives, paprika and parsley.


Bacalhau is the Portuguese name for cod. It is a very popular fish in Portugal, so much so that they say they have a different bacalhau recipe for each day of the year ! For the sake of interest, here we will be talking about a certain type of cod which is widely used in Portuguese cuisine i.e. dry, salt-cured cod, also called Saltfish in other parts of the world.

Although this type of Saltfish is considered to be one of the national ingredients of Portugal, the cod used in the process has never been fished in Portuguese waters and even today, it is imported by the tonne to satiate their love and use of it. The abundance of cod made it a relatively cheap source of protein.

Traditionally, the cod was salted aboard the fishing boats then laid out in the sun to dry, however there is proof of the existence of factories designed just to process bacalhau in Iceland and Norway dating back to the 9th century. Many believed, and still believe, the best cod is caught in Norwegian waters.

Saltfish became even more important at the time when the Portuguese began venturing out to explore other parts of the world in the 15th Century, and salted cod was high amongst the preserved foods taken to feed the sailors on the long trips at sea.

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